What would you make of a patient with is both dependent and avoidant - who fears getting close to the therapist but is also terrified of abandonment? If the therapist invites closeness, either the patient voluntarily backs off because of fear (canceling appointments or other defenses), or else becomes too needy, resulting in the clinician setting limits. Then, when limits are set, the patient misinterprets it as rejection or abandonment, is extremely anxious, and even feels suicidal? The patient is intelligent and is willing to work hard, but can't seem to get past this way of relating.
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